Bupa Osteopaths

Bupa Changes - Osteopath Information

What does it mean?



Late this April, Bupa recognised providers received a letter, inviting them to join a new Osteopath & Chiropractors Network. The only way to continue their recognition is to join this network, but the new terms & conditions will fundamentally change the relationship, not only between the insurer & the practitioner but also between the practitioner and their insured patients.

Current Petition Count

Osteopaths signed petition:
Osteopaths opted out of the new Bupa Osteopathy Network:
Patients signed petition:

Bones of Contention

The main problems with the new terms & conditions relate to

(a) Fees
(b) Extra administration
(c) Loss of professional autonomy

Although the issue of fees seems to be a problem primarily in areas of the country where it is more expensive to practice, the others affect ALL osteopaths, regardless of where they work.


Under the new network, Bupa are offering many osteopaths lower fees to treat their members than they are paying at present. Nearly half of all UK osteopaths practice in London & the Southeast, where both the cost of living & running a practice are much greater than in other regions of the UK. For this reason, osteopathic fees tend to be higher in these areas than in other areas of the country. It is in these areas that the greatest discrepancy seems to be occurring between what osteopaths are charging & what Bupa is prepared to offer.

Not only that, but patients will not be allowed to “top up” the difference between what an osteopath charges & that covered by Bupa. They are also taking control of if, and when, osteopathic fees will increase & by how much.

Extra administration

Bupa will require a report twice a year from each member of the new network that is, in effect, a written clinical audit of seven different aspects of your practice. Even more time-consuming will be, on demand, providing them with clinical outcome data. This will involve giving assessment questionnaires to every patient and compiling the data – a major research project in itself.

Loss of professional autonomy

Osteopaths will not be allowed to decide for themselves what treatment each patient needs, but agree to follow predetermined treatment protocols – “Bupa published care pathways”. You will also be required to give Bupa access to your patient records.

Although Bupa claim that they do not intend to interfere in clinical decision-making, the GOsC has raised concerns with Bupa about whether complying with these terms & conditions could potentially lead to a breach of the Standards of Practice (OPS). See the “Latest News” page for more information.

The full version of the Terms & Conditions for joining the Bupa network are available from their website here.

and an account of the potential impact of these on your practice can be downloaded from here.


What can I do about it?

1. If you are an osteopath please show your support by joining our online petition:


2. Encourage the BOA in its efforts to negotiate with Bupa Bupa by participating in their national survey of osteopaths’ opinions about the Bupa Osteopathic Network. It is open to ALL osteopaths that practice in the UK. See the “Latest News” page on how to do this

3. Write to your patients informing them of the situation & encouraging them to complain to Bupa (especially those in corporate schemes).

4. Spread the word. Talk about this issue to colleagues, send the address of this website to them by e-mail, Facebook, Tweet or use the add-this link at the top of the page.

5. Copy all the code in the box below and get your website manager to add it to a html page on your site. This will encourage your patients to visit this site:

6. Submit a comment to the Competition Commission about Bupa’s behaviour & how it is limiting patient choice. See the “Latest News” page on how to do this

7. Consider declining, or resigning from, the new Bupa Osteopathy Network as so many of your colleagues already have. See the “Latest News” about the massive response to “Bupa Resignation Day”


Writing to Patients

Bupa is most likely to listen to its policyholders as, after all, they are the ones who pay the premiums. That is why it is essential that we contact all our patients who have Bupa cover. Patients on corporate schemes, which provide a large chunk of Bupa’s income, could get the person who administers the health insurance involved. A few corporate schemes backing us would really make Bupa think again. A draft letter to patients is available to download from here.

A draft letter of complaint that can be adapted by each patient can be downloaded from here.

A poster for your waiting room, that can also be used as a flyer, can be downloaded from here.


Declining or Resigning

Whilst it is up to each practitioner to decide for themselves whether to join (or remain in) the new network, many osteopaths feel so strongly about these issues that they believe that it is not in the best interests of their patients to remain as Bupa “recognised providers” .A substantial number of osteopaths resigned en masse on “Bupa Resignation Day” on Friday 13th July 2012, and many more have joined them since. See the “Latest News” page for more information

Should you decide to join them, the most effective way of doing this is in writing to the address below. However, it is important that your letter includes an account of your reasons for resigning.


Dr Natalie-Jane MacDonald
Medical Director
BUPA Health & Wellbeing UK
Willow House
TW18 3DZ

or you can e-mail
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you, in anticipation, for your support of this protest.


  • Comment Link meta Pike Saturday, 07 July 2012 09:43 posted by meta Pike

    I have also opted out. will also be sending a letter on Friday 13th - unlucky for some but, not for osteopaths and chiropractors I hope.
    I do wonder if BUPA has attempted to restrict fees and scope of practice of hospital consultants

  • Comment Link Torben Hersborg Friday, 06 July 2012 15:26 posted by Torben Hersborg

    I resigned today - after entertaining BUPA for 15 minutes on the phone

  • Comment Link Nick Handoll Friday, 06 July 2012 12:39 posted by Nick Handoll

    Perhaps better than osteopaths leaving BUPA, what will hit them more is their policyholders leaving. We could recommend that our BUPA patients look at joining www.medicash.org who pay 80% of osteopaths' fees.

  • Comment Link Emma Poole Friday, 06 July 2012 10:26 posted by Emma Poole

    Directly quoting form The BUPA website for their memebers under the 'Common Questions about Osteopathy' section..

    'How much does osteopathy cost?

    There is no fixed price for osteopathy treatment and the cost varies across the UK. Typically a 30-minute treatment session can cost between £35 and £50.

    The cost of osteopathy treatment will depend on the number of sessions you have and the location of your practice.

    Most people have a course of three to six treatment sessions, but this will depend on the specific treatment you need and the severity of your problem. At your first appointment, your osteopath should give you an idea of the number of treatment sessions you will need.'

    My comment, referring to recent information from the BOA forum an osteopath was informed that BUPA came up with their pricing based on the average price of osteopathic fees in the UK. Calculating from the above quote would that figure for an half hour session not be closer to £42?

  • Comment Link Angela Stevenson Friday, 06 July 2012 09:18 posted by Angela Stevenson

    I am happy to sign up to this petition and to opt out of the BUPA network. I have been in this profession for nearly 30 years and object to the way BUPA have sprung this on us and tried to squeeze us into a mould without consultation. I hope as many of the profession as possible will sign up and opt out regardless of whether they think the fees are fair or not. I think BUPA should call a halt, and sit down with the BOA to properly negotiate in a professional manner.

  • Comment Link Rosemary Dartnall Friday, 06 July 2012 08:36 posted by Rosemary Dartnall

    I am not an osteopath but a practice manager and partner of an osteopath. My comment is restricted to the arguably least intrusive element of BUPA's plans; the fees. I read everywhere that the fees BUPA will pay are too low for osteopaths working in expensive trading areas. We work hard to keep our fees fair yet the BUPA fees are 20% lower than ours. I have been unable to find any practice that offers treatment at the rates BUPA propose.

  • Comment Link Deepak Friday, 06 July 2012 00:25 posted by Deepak


    I'm an Osteopath in Australia and a few years ago health insurers attempted to sling us with similar "memberships" that restricted our scope of practice and fee structures. It was overwhelmingly rejected by most Osteopaths and had no impact on our practices. For those of you who are not resigning based on your fear of being left out our experiences indicate that we can only be heard with a united voice. Our clients respect our professional autonomy and,when aware of the situation, will support you fully to resign.

  • Comment Link Chris Johnson Thursday, 05 July 2012 23:06 posted by Chris Johnson

    Similar to colleagues..this is a step too far in attempting to seize control of how Osteopathy is practiced, and as a result disempowering the profession as a whole.
    Additionally, with the various levels of deception the BOA and other professional organisations have experienced from BUPA, any monies I would receive from them I feel would be tarnished. It's an issue of integrity, and I don't want my business to be in partnership with an organisation that isn't up front and authentic.
    I too will be resigning on the 13th.
    Lets keep this grounswell rolling...

  • Comment Link Timothy Marris Thursday, 05 July 2012 22:47 posted by Timothy Marris

    I too have decided to resign from the BUPA scheme after over 20 years as a provider. It is highly unethical that any osteopath should be told how to treat their patients by someone /a body of people, who has not met the patient. I am surprised and disappointed that the GOsC has not intervened as "protecting the public" is their reason d'etre. It is very clear that this action by BUPA would have a highly detrimental effect on our profession if most practitioner do not resign/complain from the scheme. Financial dignity and recompense for our skills is important, however autonomy of how we treat is vital for osteopathy to survive!
    Lets all get fully behind this great initiative (Friday 13th)that Gareth has begun on our behalf.

  • Comment Link Carol Williams Thursday, 05 July 2012 22:35 posted by Carol Williams

    I will be resigning from BUPA on 13th after 15 years. I am not prepared to BUPA dictate the treatment my clients receive.
    As I already treat a number of deserving "charity" cases at discount rates, I do not agree with BUPA imposing this on me in addition.


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